Should you tear off your old roof or shingle over it? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each. But first, what is a roof overlay?

What is a Roof Overlay

A roof overlay is when you place a new layer of shingles over existing ones. Overlaying includes new flashing and waterproofing materials. This option is only available if the roof hasn’t been overlaid. Other terms for roof overlay are “re-roofing” and “shingle over.”


  • Less Expensive. Labor costs are considerably less when you shingle over an existing roof. Shingling over an existing roof will save you, on average, around $600.
  • Less Time. Overlays save time. Since the crew doesn’t need to strip and dispose of existing shingles, your time “under construction” will be shorter.
  • Less Mess. Re-roofing is much less messy than roof replacement. There’s no need for roofing crews to pile up old roofing materials as they work. Overlays add to your total savings with fewer cleanup costs and dumpster rentals.


  • Adds Weight. Shingles are heavy. Two layers are a considerable amount of weight and can jeopardize your roof’s structural integrity.
  • Uneven Look. Placing shingles on a weathered roof runs the risk of not looking as good as a new roof.
  • Lower Life Expectancy. Shingles installed over an existing roof may not last their full life expectancy due to trapped heat.
  • Missed Roofing Problems. Overlaying doesn’t allow you to see what’s underneath to see the decking condition, which could lead to larger problems down the road.
  • Double Costs. Sooner or later, you’ll need to replace the roof. Instead of replacing one layer of the roof, you’ll have two. That means double debris disposal and labor.
  • The other option you have is a tear-off.

What’s a Tear-Off?

It sounds like a tear-off, removing your existing roof and replacing it with an entirely new one.


  • Long-Lasting. A new roof will typically last longer than a re-roof
  • Ages Evenly. Because everything is brand new from the foundation of your roof and up, it will age evenly.
  • Increase Value. A new roof is a major selling point and increases your home’s resale value.
  • Spot Problems. A new roof provides the roofing company to get a clear look at the roof. They can identify potential areas that need repair or deeper-rooted structural problems that might otherwise go unnoticed.
  • More Choices. Tearing off the old one and installing a new roof allows you to choose a different material.


  • More Expensive. Probably the biggest cons to a new roof is that it costs significantly more than an overlay. Higher labor, material fees, and disposal of old materials result in higher costs.
  • More Time. Installing a new roof takes longer, which means living in a construction zone or paying longer for alternative lodging.

Your roof is the most important structure in your home. In most cases, if you are beyond roof repair, a roof replacement is your best option.

Perry Roofing Company offers you solutions for your roofing needs. Call us for a FREE evaluation, and let our pros discuss your options. 479.306.4327

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